Charities feel economic squeeze

By Amy McGillivray

With the huge number of appeals and awareness weeks, charities are finding it hard to raise funds.

The Tauranga Breast Cancer Support Service's 50 Shades of Pink fundraiser that was scheduled for last week was called off due to the low number of ticket sales and few people turned up to an auction to raise money for 10-year-old Logan Alison, who has a very rare form of cancer.

Auction organiser Leaha Wykes was disappointed by the low turnout to the fundraiser.

No more than 20 people came out and she has resorted to selling the remaining items on Trade Me.

"I think there's quite a few events out there and people are feeling the pinch," she said.

"A lot of people just said to me: 'We just thought there would be heaps of people there.' But there weren't."

It seemed to be a combination of too many fundraisers, tight finances and apathy, Ms Wykes said.

"There's just heaps and heaps and heaps of events out there. I think people are just overwhelmed. I think there's an element of apathy."

While she was not totally sure why the turnout was so low there was one thing she was sure of.

"I just know I won't be doing anything like this again."

The auction raised almost $5000 and Ms Wykes expected to make about $2000 more through Trade Me but it was not the $10,000 she was aiming for.

The event did also bring out the best in people. Retailers were more than happy to donate goods to be sold and those that did come to the auction could not have been more generous, Ms Wykes said.

Tauranga Breast Cancer Support Service co-ordinator Lea Lehndorf said it was always tricky selling tickets to events but agreed there were a lot of charities to choose from.

"I think maybe it's a little bit of there's a lot on at the moment. Spring's quite a busy time," she said. "There's a lot of charities out there there's over 25,000 in New Zealand. There's not as much discretionary income out there given the times."

The service's 50 Shades of Pink personal styling event had to be cancelled due to low ticket sales but the high tea at Bella Vista Lodge on Sunday garnered plenty of support.

Where people could not help financially they often volunteered their time which was also valuable, she said.

"It's all a flow-on effect from the economic climate. Our costs have gone up just like everyone else's. I think it's more of the economic climate that's hurting people and they are having to make choices about where their money goes."

Search for leaha1 on Trade Me to bid on the items that did not sell at the Logan Alison action.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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